Violinist Francesca Anderegg: Linking old and new


GREAT BARRINGTON -- As a violinist, Francesca Anderegg owes a lot to a famous singer.

In 2008, Anderegg, who grew up in West Stockbridge, attended a professional development workshop given by soprano Benita Valente in Carnegie Hall. The subject was finding the vocal quality in Beethoven and Schubert.

The sessions were a pivotal point in Anderegg's budding career.

"It was very special to work with her because she coached us as if we were singers, and I had never had that experience before," Anderegg recalls. It led her to seek a lyrical quality in her playing.

That's part of the story behind Anderegg's recital program of mostly contemporary music Sunday afternoon at 3 at Simon's Rock. The music might look intimidating, she says, but it is really lyrical and expressive.

With faculty member Larry Wallach as pianist, Anderegg will play pieces by Charles Ives, George Perle, Arnold Schoenberg and Witold Lutoslawski. She's not a specialist in contemporary music, she says. Instead, she wants to show that contemporary music is part of the classical tradition and can be played in a songlike way.

Despite the emphasis here, Anderegg says her overall repertoire is about half classical and half contemporary. This is shown on her newly released CD, her first (with pianist Brent Funderburk, on the Albany label).

The disc contains two of the pieces to be performed Sunday -- Perle's "Tryptich" and Schoenberg's "Phantasy" -- plus Mozart's Sonata, K. 304, and Schubert's Rondo Brilliant. The companion pieces at Simon's Rock are Ives' Sonata No. 4, "Children's Day at the Camp Meeting," and Lutoslawski's Partita.

New music doesn't exist in a vacuum or compartment, Anderegg said by phone. Instead, she wants to "emphasize the continuity between traditional repertoire and contemporary repertoire, so that we see it as being part of the tradition of all the music that we know."

From Monument Mountain Regional High School, Anderegg went on to Harvard, where she graduated in 2005, and then to master's and doctor's degrees at the Juilliard School, where she finished up last spring. This fall, she began a teaching position at St. Olaf College, a Lutheran school in Northfield, Minn.

While at Juilliard, Anderegg played in recitals and as a freelancer in orchestras. In Minnesota, she said, she misses the ferment of New York a little. But she finds, as most teachers do, that she learns as she teaches, and St. Olaf encourages her to tour as a performer to spread its name.

The invitation to Simon's Rock came from Wallach, with whom she has performed before and shares an interest in new music.

While growing up in the Berkshires, Francesca was one-third of the Anderegg Trio with her twin brother, Peter, who is now principal cellist of the Phoenix Symphony, and her father, David, a pianist. The trio is no more. The twins have gone on to bigger things. 

If you go ...

Who: Violinist Francesca Anderegg and pianist Laurence Wallach

What: Music for violin and piano by Ives, Perle, Schoenberg, Lutoslawski

When: Sunday 3 p.m.

Where: Daniel Ars Center, McConnell Auditorium, Bard College at Simon's Rock, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington

Admission: Free


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